Optimistic optimization of a Brownian

Part of Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems 31 (NeurIPS 2018)

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Jean-Bastien Grill, Michal Valko, Remi Munos


We address the problem of optimizing a Brownian motion. We consider a (random) realization $W$ of a Brownian motion with input space in $[0,1]$. Given $W$, our goal is to return an $\epsilon$-approximation of its maximum using the smallest possible number of function evaluations, the sample complexity of the algorithm. We provide an algorithm with sample complexity of order $\log^2(1/\epsilon)$. This improves over previous results of Al-Mharmah and Calvin (1996) and Calvin et al. (2017) which provided only polynomial rates. Our algorithm is adaptive---each query depends on previous values---and is an instance of the optimism-in-the-face-of-uncertainty principle.